Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Past & Future Crash

If I told you everything that's happened in my life, you'd say "bullshit." You'd say, even fiction can't be this strange; yet here it is.

Nestled amongst my junk email, I notice one from my publisher that had a "[FWD[FWD[FWD" thingie on it. Mimi never sends me chain emails.... so curious, I opened it up. The past came crashng upon my memories like an avalanche and my other, watching my face, kept saying what is it? Who's this woman writing you?

In 1982, I spent an entire glorious summer bathed in sunlight. I was 18, pretty much left to my own devices in Singapore and I chose to spend it either in the sun or under flourescents in my favorite bowling alley. With me that summer, was this woman who just emailed me out of nowhere.

Our parents had been business associates and since we both were home from overseas, our parents threw us together probably in hopes that we'd keep each other out of trouble. (I can just hear my mother clucking to hers, "Aiyah, don't worry, my daughter - moh da'am" Translation, my daughter's a scaredy-cat.).

Memories of freezing cold shopping centers trying on different clothes, of beer with pizza, of reading guilty pleasure novels by the pool, of wind-surfing on a small lagoon in Katong, of satay by the swimming pool in Island Club, of learning to swing dance and rock-n-roll dance with her, her mom, my mom and their crazy bunch of friends. Hmm, didn't I also take tai-chi that year but she opted not to do it and instead I took it with Auntie Linda and Auntie Pat?

That summer has got to rate as one of the best I've ever had in my life.

Oh, how did it collide with my future? My gf wants to get married cause she's not considered independent financially from her parents until she's 25. That is, unless she's married, or has a kid. So, yesterday's ruling in CA kinda fueled a "So, when are we getting married? Why aren't you marrying me? Why don't you want to marry me?" line of questioning.

Of course, in the meantime, I started fretting about talking to this ol' buddy. Actually, I started fretting about what Mom was going to nag me about if I told her this ol' buddy wanted to get in touch with me. I really wish I knew how to be my sister.... she never cared about pleasing Mom. If it so happened that she wanted to go in one direction and my mother in the opposite direction, she had no compunctures about meandering down the one she chose. Me, I sit and try and figure out how I could get my way and yet give my mother what she wanted as well. The usual results with me? No one remembers that my sister went her own way. Everyone remembers that I couldn't make them happy. *sighs*

Anyway, my mother's the type to dictate what I say or don't say to people she's remotely acquainted with. "Aiyah, don't say that, it doesn't sound good." or "Aiyah! If you say that, they think no Gah-Gow" (Translation - no family teachings - meaning 1) the family is so low-class that they don't bother teaching politeness or 2) the person was too stupid from the family's teachings so is acting like a rude asshole) She'll desperately want that no one talks about our family, but is paranoid enough to think that everyone is.. and that her shame of being my father's wife will open for all to see. Watch, if I end up telling her about my buddy's email, she'll be telling me not to get back in contact... just in case that person's family has heard through the grapevine what my father was like.

I miss my mother. I miss the carefree vibrant young woman I remember her to be. My mother was the one cool mom everyone wanted for *their* mother and I remember brimming with pride. But I can't get myself to hate my father either. One day, I will write about this... about this transition from Imperialist China to the modern era and how it was particularly hard on the Chinese women. Especially the really smart ones who ended up hating themselves and their lives because they could see... and they didn't want to. Like my mother.

Filed under Bloodsport, err Relatives and Reveries & Paranoias.


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